The TAC Cup is an under-19 Australian rules football representative competition held in Victoria, Australia. It is based on geographic regions throughout country Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne with each team representing twelve Victorian regions.
The competition is one of the primary sources of recruitment for AFL clubs from Victoria. The TAC Cup provides an opportunity for talented regional players to participate in a high standard competition without having to relocate too far from their place of origin. The competition has a very successful pathway with players missing AFL selection often being recruited by semi-professional state, country and regional leagues throughout Australia.
With the focus of the VFL/AFL moving rapidly towards national competition, the old metropolitan and country Victorian zoning recruitment method for VFL/AFL clubs was phased out and at the start of 1992 the league’s under-19 competition was disbanded.
A new competition, administered by the Victorian State Football League and sponsored by the Transport Accident Commission, was formed as an avenue to where many young Victorian under-18 players make their transition to becoming senior Australian Football League players. In 1992 the competition consisted of five metropolitan teams and one country team. The initial teams were the Northern Knights, Eastern Ranges, Southern Stingrays (renamed the Dandenong Stingrays in 1995), Western Jets, Central Dragons (renamed the Prahran Dragons in 1995, then the Sandringham Dragons in 2000) and Geelong Falcons.
In 1993 an additional four country teams were included—the Murray Bushrangers, Bendigo Pioneers, Gippsland Power and Ballarat Rebels (renamed the North Ballarat Rebels in 1996, then the Greater Western Victoria Rebels in 2017). In 1995 two additional metropolitan regions were established with the Oakleigh Chargers and Calder Cannons teams included in the competition.
In 1995, a Tasmanian-based team, the Tassie Mariners, commenced in the competition, becoming the league’s first non-Victorian side. The following year, the NSW/ACT Rams were admitted. The Mariners and Rams both exited the competition as full-time members at the end of the 2002, returning the competition to twelve teams.
The Gold Coast Football Club recruited several under-18s players in the 2008/09 summer, and participated in the TAC Cup in 2009 (before playing in the VFL in 2010 and the AFL from 2011). Similarly, the Greater Western Sydney Giants fielded a TAC Cup team in 2010, two seasons prior to its introduction to the AFL in 2012.
Four interstate teams—the Tassie Mariners, NSW/ACT Rams, Queensland Scorpions and the Northern Territory Thunder—each play a handful of games each year against TAC Cup teams, particularly in the lead-up to the annual AFL Under 18 Championships; these games are counted as part of the TAC Cup premiership season, but the interstate clubs are not eligible for the premiership.
Between 1995 and 2008, the finals system was in a knock-out format. This reverted to a traditional finals system in 2009 with the introduction of the Gold Coast team. In 2010, this was extended to include 12 of the 13 clubs participating that season, with the extra matches forming an extended knockout format. In 2011 the finals system was reverted to the traditional eight-team AFL finals series. Prior to the 2014 season, the NSW/ACT Rams was reestablished as a TAC Cup team, with players from the Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney Giants young academy sides being picked for the NSW/ACT team.
From 2019, the TAC Cup will introduce six new teams: the AFL Academy sides of Gold Coast, GWS Giants, Sydney Swans, Brisbane Lions; the Northern Territory; and the returning Tassie Mariners. Additionally, teams will be able to include more 19-year-olds – previously only three could be selected.
Although primarily a competition for 18-year-olds, exceptions are made for bottom-aged players—16- or 17-year-olds—and since 2007, over-age players—19-year-olds—to participate in the competition.
Since the beginning of the 2007 TAC Cup season, clubs have been granted permission to select up to five over-age players permitted on their lists.
Nonetheless, age eligibility requirements remain for the AFL Draft, where players must have turned seventeen years of age by 30 April of that draft year to be eligible for selection by an AFL club.
The Morrish Medal is awarded to the best player in the competition each year. The same medal was previously awarded to the best player in the Victorian Football League Thirds/Under-19s competition, which the TAC Cup superseded.
TAC Cup Coaches Award
The TAC Cup Coaches Award is voted on by both coaches in a 5–4–3–2–1 format at the end of each game. At the end of the 2015 season, the award was discontinued.
Year Player/s Team 2015 Jade Gresham Northern Knights 2014 Oscar McDonald North Ballarat Rebels 2013 Louis Herbert North Ballarat Rebels 2012 Jake Lloyd North Ballarat Rebels 2011 Shaun Marusic Gippsland Power 2010 Adam Marcon Northern Knights 2009 Anton Woods Northern Knights 2008 Rory Sloane Eastern Ranges 2007 Matthew Kreuzer Northern Knights 2006 Andrew Horne Calder Cannons 2005 Richard Douglas Calder Cannons 2004 Adam Pattison Northern Knights 2003 Colin Sylvia Bendigo Pioneers 2002 Blake Grima Eastern Ranges 2001 Brad Miller
2000 Paul Carson Western Jets 1999 Leigh Brown Gippsland Power 1998 Stephen Hazleman Gippsland Power 1997 Matthew Bernes Tassie Mariners 1996 Tim Finocchiaro Eastern Ranges 1995 Jason Snell Eastern Ranges 1994 Jason McFarlane Gippsland Power 1993 Angelo Lekkas Northern Knights 1992 Brad Smith Northern Knights
The Match of the Round is broadcast live on Rumble 103, an internet radio station based in Melbourne.
There is a TAC Cup show screening on GTV Channel 9 in Melbourne and across Victoria and Inland NSW border regions on WIN Television from 1 p.m. every Sunday from late March until the end of September.
TAC Cup news and results can be seen on C31‘s Local Footy Show and heard on the ABC’s Triple J radio station.
TAC Cup matches were broadcast live on Channel C31 Melbourne television in Melbourne, Geelong & regional Victoria in 2010.
Radio stations SYN FM & RRR FM will broadcast coverage of TAC Cup football matches every weekend during the season.
Team Region(s) Seasons Premierships Home ground Training ground Northern Knights Northern Melbourne,
North Eastern Melbourne
1992–present 4 (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996) Preston City Oval Preston City Oval,
La Trobe University
Eastern Ranges Eastern Melbourne 1992–present 2 (2002, 2013) Box Hill City Oval Kilsyth Recreation Reserve Dandenong Stingrays South Eastern Melbourne,
1992–present 1 (2018) Shepley Oval, Dandenong Shepley Oval Western Jets Western Melbourne,
1992–present 0 Burbank Oval W.L.J. Crofts Reserve, Altona
Brookside Oval, Caroline Springs
Sandringham Dragons Bayside Melbourne,
Inner South East Melbourne
1992–present 3 (1999, 2011, 2016) Trevor Barker Beach Oval Princes Park Oval,
Geelong Falcons Geelong,
1992–present 3 (1992, 2000, 2017) Chirnside Park,
Highton Reserve Murray Bushrangers Goulburn Valley,
North Eastern Victoria
1993–present 2 (1998, 2008) WJ Findlay Oval, Wangaratta
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta
Lavington Sports Ground, Albury
Albury Sports Ground, Albury
Deakin Reserve, Shepparton
Norm Minns Oval Bendigo Pioneers Bendigo,
1993–present 0 Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo Golden Square Football Oval Gippsland Power Gippsland 1993–present 1 (2005) Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell Morwell Recreation Reserve Greater Western Victoria Rebels Ballarat,
1993–present 1 (1997) Eureka Stadium, North Ballarat Eureka Stadium Oakleigh Chargers South Eastern Melbourne,
Inner Eastern Melbourne,
1995–present 4 (2006, 2012, 2014, 2015) Warrawee Park, Oakleigh Warrawee Park Calder Cannons North Western Melbourne,
1995–present 6 (2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010) Highgate Recreation Reserve, Craigieburn Highgate Recreation Reserve Tassie Mariners Tasmania 1996–2002;2019- 0 Bellerive Oval,
Gold Coast Suns Gold Coast Queensland 2009;2019- 0 Metricon Stadium Brisbane Lions Brisbane Queensland =2019- 0 Gabba NT Thunder Northern Territory =2019- 0 TIO Stadium Sydney Swans New South Wales =2019- 0 Sydney Cricket Ground Greater Western Sydney Giants Western Sydney District 2010 0 Spotless Stadium
TAC Cup premiers
Season Premiers GF Score Runner-up Best-on-ground 1992 Geelong Falcons 18.16 (124) – 12.10 (82) Western Jets Daniel Fletcher 1993 Northern Knights 32.10 (202) – 18.11 (119) Western Jets Shannon Gibson 1994 Northern Knights 16.21 (117) – 15.17 (107) Geelong Falcons Anthony Rocca 1995 Northern Knights 12.20 (92) – 7.21 (63) Eastern Ranges Brent Harvey 1996 Northern Knights 15.15 (105) – 14.6 (90) NSW/ACT Rams Matthew Harrison 1997 North Ballarat Rebels 16.15 (111) – 10.16 (76) Dandenong Stingrays Adam Goodes 1998 Murray Bushrangers 17.18 (120) – 12.12 (84) Geelong Falcons Michael Stevens 1999 Sandringham Dragons 16.8 (104) – 8.6 (54) Gippsland Power Dylan Smith 2000 Geelong Falcons 18.16 (124) – 15.12 (102) Eastern Ranges Amon Buchanan 2001 Calder Cannons 16.14 (110) – 10.13 (73) Bendigo Pioneers Jordan Barham 2002 Eastern Ranges 10.5 (65) – 9.10 (64) Calder Cannons Stephen Dinnell 2003 Calder Cannons 16.14 (110) – 2.6 (18) Murray Bushrangers Brock McLean 2004 Calder Cannons 19.20 (134) – 9.10 (64) Eastern Ranges Jesse D. Smith 2005 Gippsland Power 12.9 (81) – 10.6 (66) Dandenong Stingrays Dale Thomas 2006 Oakleigh Chargers 19.16 (130) – 16.7 (103) Calder Cannons Dean Kelly 2007 Calder Cannons 14.20 (104) – 7.12 (54) Murray Bushrangers Ashley Arrowsmith 2008 Murray Bushrangers 21.16 (142) – 9.7 (61) Dandenong Stingrays Steele Sidebottom 2009 Calder Cannons 17.10 (112) – 14.14 (98) Dandenong Stingrays Jake Melksham 2010 Calder Cannons 17.14 (116) – 8.10 (58) Gippsland Power Mitch Wallis 2011 Sandringham Dragons 17.11 (113) – 16.9 (105) Oakleigh Chargers Jack Viney 2012 Oakleigh Chargers 12.10 (82) – 12.9 (81) Gippsland Power Jackson Macrae 2013 Eastern Ranges 24.8 (152) – 5.10 (40) Dandenong Stingrays Ben Cavarra 2014 Oakleigh Chargers 17.15 (117) – 11.4 (70) Calder Cannons Toby McLean 2015 Oakleigh Chargers 10.13 (73) – 9.7 (61) Eastern Ranges Kade Answerth 2016 Sandringham Dragons 12.13 (85) – 9.14 (68) Murray Bushrangers Andrew McGrath 2017 Geelong Falcons 13.11 (89) – 13.9 (87) Sandringham Dragons Gryan Miers 2018 Dandenong Stingrays 12.8 (80) – 11.8 (74) Oakleigh Chargers Matthew Rowell
Total premierships by club
- 6 – Calder Cannons
- 4 – Oakleigh Chargers, Northern Knights
- 3 – Sandringham Dragons, Geelong Falcons
- 2 – Eastern Ranges, Murray Bushrangers
- 1 – Dandenong Stingrays, Gippsland Power, Greater Western Victoria Rebels
- 0 – Bendigo Pioneers, Western Jets
NSW/ACT Rams, as of 2015, do not play a full season, and therefore cannot compete for the premiership.
Total runner-up placements by club
- 5 – Dandenong Stingrays
- 4 – Eastern Ranges
- 3 – Calder Cannons, Gippsland Power, Murray Bushrangers
- 2 – Western Jets, Oakleigh Chargers
- 1 – Bendigo Pioneers, Geelong Falcons, NSW/ACT Rams, Sandringham Dragons
- 0 – Greater Western Victoria Rebels, Northern Knights
- “Our History”. Sandringham Dragons Football Club. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- “2014 TAC Cup fixture released”. Sportingpulse. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- Rams to travel to Melbourne for first TAC Cup game in 12 years
- Twomey, Callum (17 August 2018). “TAC Cup set for major overhaul in 2019”. afl.com.au. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- Balmer, Matt (17 August 2018). “AFL Draft 2018: Premier TAC Cup competition set for major shake-up to include interstate teams in Victoria”. Fox Sports Australia. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- TAC Cup Coaches Award details
- “Draft bolter Clayton Oliver clinches Morrish Medal”. AFL.com.au. 13 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- “TAC Cup award night winners”. Sportingpulse. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- Herbert wins award in TAC Cup